Gerrit Rietveld

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Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, 1962

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld [ ˈɣɛrɪt ˈtoːmɑs ˈritfɛlt ] (born June 24, 1888 in Utrecht , † June 25, 1964 in Utrecht) was a Dutch architect and designer. He became known through his participation in the artist group De Stijl .

life and work

Rietveld initially worked as a master carpenter in the family business. He acquired his architectural knowledge in evening classes.

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld developed from a master carpenter into one of the most important architects and designers in the De Stijl Group. The goldsmith Carel Begeer was one of his teachers . The artist group De Stijl was formed around a Dutch visual arts magazine of the same name, published by Theo van Doesburg and published between 1917 and 1932. Rietveld was particularly influential through the Rietveld Schröder House (in Utrecht ) and the Red-Blue Chair. His ideas were also taken up at the Bauhaus .

Essential features of his works, which were created under the influence of De Stijl, are the strict geometry and the reduction in color to the primary colors yellow, red and blue. They represent the attempt to bring the visual arts, design and architecture together, which to a certain extent led to an aesthetic that breaks apart from one category to another .


The red-blue chair


Rietveld developed the red-blue chair in its basic form in 1917 and built it in 1918 in a first version with side parts under the armrests and without colored frames. In 1919 Rietveld published an illustration of this chair in De Stijl magazine . It was not until 1923 that the chair was given its characteristic color scheme in the primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and black, although other color concepts - even colorless ones - can be seen in photographs after 1923. The re-edition of the chair made by Cassina SpA , known today, is one of many versions.

The chair consists of 13 square timbers and two beech slats. The seat and back are made of plywood. This favors industrial production. The individual parts are glued together with wooden dowels. The strict geometry and the open structure are intended to overcome form-space problems, thereby making the interior tangible. In addition to the Schröder house, this chair made Rietveld particularly famous.

In the year of his death, his chairs were also shown posthumously in the Industrial Design department at documenta III in Kassel in 1964 .



The Rietveld Schröder House
  • 1921 Presentation room of a gold and silver company, Kalverstraat 107, Amsterdam (destroyed)
  • 1924 Rietveld Schröder House , Prins Hendriklaan 50, Utrecht
  • 1927–28 Waldeck Pyrmontkade 20, Utrecht
  • 1930–31 Four mansions: Erasmuslaan 5-11, Utrecht
  • 1932 Music school with two apartments, Zeist
  • 1932 The houses in Woinovichgasse 14-20 in the Werkbundsiedlung Vienna
  • 1932 Four Houses, Robert Schumannstraat 13-19, Utrecht
  • 1933 Villa Hildebrand, Bloemlandseweg 3, Blaricum
  • 1934 Four houses, Erasmuslaan 1A / 1B / 3A / 3B, Prins Hendriklaan 64, Utrecht
  • 1935 Summer house for Verrijn Stuart, near Utrecht
  • 1935–36 Smedes house, Den Dolder near Zeist
  • 1936 Vreeburg cinema, Vredenburg 9–10, Utrecht
  • 1938 Conversion of the Metz & Co. shop, Keizersgracht, Amsterdam
  • 1951 Holiday homes for the employees of the superphosphate factory "Albatros" and De Vries Robbé
  • 1953–54 Rietveld pavilion for the Venice Biennale
  • 1954 Pavilion for the Sonsbeek Park in Arnhem , demolished and rebuilt in Otterlo
  • 1953–56 in collaboration with Ter Braak, Van den Berg, Van Grunsven and Prey: Julianasaal of the Royal Dutch Congress Center Jaarbeurs in Utrecht
  • Bus stop in Hof in Bergeijk
  • Bell in courtyard in Bergeijk
  • 1954–58 “Weverij de Ploeg” textile factory in Bergeijk
  • 1955-56 Haus Visser, Bergeijk (outside), 1968-74 by Aldo van Eyck rebuilt
  • 1955–56 Smedes Bennekom double villa
  • 1956–57 houses in Bergeijk and Best
  • 1956–57 block in Hoograven and Tolsteeg
  • 1958 Dutch pavilion for the world exhibition in Brussels
  • 1958 Office building for Schmales Beton, Willemsvaart 21, Zwolle
  • 1958–59 “De Zonnehof” exhibition building, Amersfoort
  • 1959 Van den Doel house, Ilpendam
  • 1960 Kramer summer house in Cadzand-Bad
  • 1962–64 Villa van Slobbe, Heerlen
  • 1963 Academy building, University of Fine Arts, Arnhem
  • 1965 in collaboration with Joan van Dillen and Johan van Tricht: “De Nudehof” supply house in Wageningen
  • 1965 in collaboration with Johan van Tricht: "De Hoeksteen", Dutch Reformed Church (until 1984), Uithoorn (public library since 1985)
  • 1967 in collaboration with Joan van Dillen and Johan van Tricht: Gerrit Rietveld Academy , Amsterdam
  • 1971 School (Rietveld-Gymnasium) in Doetinchem
  • Opened in 1973, in collaboration with Joan van Dillen and Johan van Tricht: Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam


  • Peter Drijver, Johannes Niemeijer: How to construct Rietveld Furniture. Thoth Uitgeverij, Bussum 2001, ISBN 978-90-6868-280-9 (English).
  • Mareijke Kuper, Lex Reitsma: De stoel van Rietveld / Rietveld's Chair . NAI010 PUBL, Rotterdam 2010, ISBN 978-94-6208018-8 (book and DVD Dutch and English).


  • The Rietveld chair. Documentary, France 2009, 26 min., Written and directed: Danielle Schirman, production: arte , Lobster Films, Steamboat Films, Center Pompidou , series: Design, first broadcast: March 1, 2012 on arte

See also

Web links

Commons : Gerrit Rietveld  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Cf. Breuer, Gerda: The Invention of the Modern Classic. Avant-garde and eternal actuality, Ostfildern 2001, p. 85f.
  2. Happy living in the "crazy village". In: Bundesdenkmalamt , Monument of the Month March 2013.
  3. ^ Table of contents by arte ( memento of January 9, 2014 in the Internet Archive ),, accessed on March 23, 2013